Charges of attempted rape and assault against Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood have been dropped by prosecutors, British police said on Thursday.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said the withdrawal of key witnesses and new material coming to light were factors in their decision to stop the case against the 21-year-old.
Greater Manchester Police said it was “only fair” that they announce that Greenwood, who was arrested in January last year, would no longer face criminal proceedings “given the significant media coverage of this case”.
The striker originally faced one count of attempted rape, one count of controlling and coercive behaviour and one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, all against the same complainant.
“In this case, a combination of the withdrawal of key witnesses and new material that came to light meant there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction,” the CPS said in a statement.
“In these circumstances, we are under a duty to stop the case.”
Greenwood, who has played 129 times for United, scoring 35 goals, last played for United against West Ham in January last year.
“Given the significant media coverage of this case, it is only fair that we share the news that the 21-year-old man, who had been arrested and charged in connection with an investigation opened in January 2022, no longer faces criminal proceedings in relation to this,” said chief superintendent Michaela Kerr.
“The investigation team has remained in regular contact with the legal team, providing any updates of note, and so understand the rationale for the discontinuation of proceedings at this stage, and that this decision has not been taken lightly.
“Despite the media and public’s interest in this case, we have decided not to comment on it in any further detail.
Greenwood, a product of United’s academy, and once considered one of English football’s brightest prospects, made his senior debut for the Red Devils in a Champions League victory at Paris Saint-Germain in March 2019.
He signed a new contract at United in February 2021 that runs until at least 2025.
The forward made his England debut against Iceland in September 2020, but he and Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden were sent home after breaching the team’s coronavirus guidelines.
Nike suspended and later terminated its sponsorship deal with the player, while Electronic Arts confirmed his removal from active squads on its FIFA 22 game following his arrest.